Successful beginning for nursery in former church

A NURSERY has big plans for the future following its successful venture renovating a church.

Thursday, 28th July 2016, 5:55 am
Owner Rahma Derzi with Tatiana Terzakis, three, playing with the Under the Sea jelly at Monkey Puzzle in Elm Grove Picture: Sarah Standing (161046-9386)

The Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery, in Elm Grove, Southsea, took over the old Kings Church site in November and has completely renovated the building.

Owners Rahma Derzi and Emily Belcher became friends during their time at secondary school, and have kept in touch ever since; the two found common ground to open a nursery as it was one of Emily’s lifelong ambitions.

Today, the nursery – which is open between 7am and 6.30pm – has 63 children on its register, and it is capable of expanding to 80.

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Rahma said: ‘We certainly have enough staff to go higher than we do at the moment.

‘We wanted to do things the way we wanted to. Emily had very strong ideas of exactly what she wanted, as this is something she’s always been looking to do.’

Emily added: ‘We’re doing really well already – the parents and children seem to be very happy with how things are progressing, and the facilities we have available.’

One thing that the team are especially proud of is their decision to bring the great outdoors into the nursery itself.

Emily said: ‘We really tried to merge the indoors and outdoors. We have a room with fake grass in and we’ve opened up one of the roofs; we would have liked a bit more outdoors space but this way, we can create our own.’

Building upon the success they have seen in the past eight months, the team are now looking to expand further across the rest of Hampshire.

Rahma said: ‘Our plan for the future is to build upon our current nursery, and then hopefully open up another in either Cosham or Havant.

‘That way, we can truly explore what we can do with an outdoors space; we have so many ideas that we want to try out, and that will give us the platform to do so.

‘We really take our inspiration by following the interests of the children and their parents. The children we have are very active but also imaginative, so we try to reflect that in the activities we provide for them.’

The nursery is part of the Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery group, which has been around for over 30 years. It has large, open plan rooms with a stimulating environment in which children can thrive.